CNN "CNN Newsroom" - Transcript

Interview

By:  Frank Pallone, Jr.
Date: Oct. 30, 2012
Location: Unknown

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COOPER: Well, the predictions that New Jersey was going to bear the brunt of Sandy turned out to be very, very accurate.

National Guard video shows what Sandy did to oceanfront property in Seaside Heights. That's one of the Jersey Shore towns badly damaged by Sandy.

Joining me on the phone from Long Branch, New Jersey, is Congressman Frank Pallone.

Congressman, I appreciate you being with us.

REP. FRANK PALLONE (D), NEW JERSEY: Thank you.

COOPER: You represent the Sixth District, which includes Asbury Park, Atlantic Highlands. I was in Asbury Park last night. I left there early this morning, a lot of damage along the coast. Describe some of what your constituents are dealing with today.

PALLONE: Well, a lot of the constituents are just going back to their homes and realizing that they're totally destroyed.

I was in Union Beach, along the route in Sandy Hook Bay, and the first four blocks on the bay, the waves came in and basically either carried the homes away or battered them to a pulp. And so they don't have a place to come back to.

And the concern that I have is you see all these power lines and gas lines that are broken. And they have to be so careful that they're not going to come in contact with them. So, there is still major safety problems as well. That's a big concern.

But the devastation is unbelievable, homes that are, you know, carried away, destroyed. In Long Branch, two-thirds of the boardwalk is destroyed. And the Pier Village area, which is the business, tourism, area, had a lot of major damage.

In Atlantic Highlands, where I am right now, you know, the whole marina area is destroyed. The boats were simply taken up that were being stored there and floated down the street. So, you know, we have damage to the public facilities as well. City hall in Long Branch wasn't usable. The Boro Hall in Highlands there had so much damage, I don't know if that's really usable.

And the problems that continue, I was just at (INAUDIBLE) where there is still severe flooding that is undermining homes and businesses there. So, right now, my major concern is for safety, that the biggest concern is let's make sure people don't come in contact with these downed power lines or these gas lines that have breached.

But we're starting to do an assessment. We're starting to get reports in so that we can get the federal government in with FEMA, you know, to help pay for a lot of this damage. But I have never seen anything like it before in my lifetime.

COOPER: Yes, I think a lot of people feel that way. And, as you say, it's really important that people who -- people are sick of being in their homes without power, but not to be wandering around. There are downed power lines. There is still standing water around. It is a very dangerous situation in a lot of places.

Congressman Pallone, I appreciate you being with us. And I'm sorry for all that you and your constituents are going through and wish you the best.

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